By Pam Jernigan (ChiefPam@nc.rr.com)
Summary: All rise for the President of the United States … President Kent. A whimsical (and highly improbable) look into Lois and Clark's future. This is the story that started the series.
<pointing finger at Chris Mulder> This was all *her* fault; she planted the idea in my head (not, to be fair, that she knew she was doing it). So blame her if you don't like it <g>
Actually, this is what you get when a FOLC reads political magazines that mention Clark Kent (National Review, 1/29/96, page 44). Is this even more of a fantasy than these things usually are? Well, sure… but it's fun!
By midnight, the election night party at the Metropolis Hilton's main ballroom was working its way through lively and approaching rowdy; the "Kent for President" campaign was expecting a win. The stage and podium were draped with ribbons - red, blue, and yellow - and news crews for all the major networks had staked out corners of the room for their live broadcasts. Until the final vote tallies were in, however, there was nothing to do but drink, laugh, and shout to be heard over everyone else shouting to be heard. All the Kents were gathered upstairs, glued to LNN's election night coverage.
Jimmy was circulating the floor, collecting people's reactions to spice up the front page news story he'd already written for tomorrow, anticipating a win. Perry probably had one already written to cover a defeat, but if so, he'd kept very quiet about it. "It's been a remarkable campaign, Jerry," one of the anchors declared, passing time until California's votes were in, struggling to stand out among the other news personalities (and a few real journalists) all reporting back to their viewers. "-came out of nowhere, last year -" Jimmy followed a waiter, grabbing an hors d'ouvre, and ended up near another live broadcast. "-picked up lots of female votes pretty quickly, but that may not have mattered without the enthusiastic support from the Daily Planet's editorial pages-" Jimmy had to smile at that, and moved on quickly, so as not to be noticed. The Planet hadn't committed so strongly to a candidate in 30 years, Perry had said, but that just made it about time they did. "That Kansas charm really won the public's hearts-" reported another famous voice. It seemed he couldn't get away from the TV people. Over and over they repeated the same observations they'd been making all year.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" The microphone squealed as the campaign manager tried to attract attention. The news cameras, as if all on a single control, swiveled towards the stage, but the partiers in the middle of the floor were slower to catch on. "Ladies and gentlemen!" He tried again, laughing. "We have the results from the majority of states; California has now reported in!" That started to grab their attention; the loud shouts of socializing were replaced by the softer murmurs of speculation. "It is my very great honor to introduce to you…" he paused, savoring the moment, and drawing out the tension. "I'm delighted, in fact, to present to you - President-Elect Kent!"
The crowd in front of the podium went wild, with the younger and more enthusiastic members jumping up and down, and hugging whoever happened to be nearby, making even more noise than before. There was a stirring at the back of the stage, as the Secret Service agents prepared for the entrance of the new First Family. Jonathan came into view first, waving at the crowd and the cameras, looking much more comfortable than he felt in a new dark blue suit. Martha emerged next, with her hair very sleek and stylish, wearing a sharply-tailored blue and red dress, and seeming perfectly at ease, smiling broadly and shaking hands with everyone who was reaching out to her, smiling at the news crews, but ignoring the hopeful microphones. Lastly, Clark and Lois Kent emerged from the back room, smiling and laughing, walking arm in arm, whispering to one another as they pointed out things of interest around the large ballroom. Clark even managed to locate Jimmy and wave to him.
President-Elect Martha Kent stepped up to the microphone, and stood beaming at the crowds for a moment, giving them a chance to complete their cheering before she spoke. Jonathan took up his regular place a few steps behind and a little to the right of his wife, looking proud enough to burst. She'd made history, as the first woman president, and she'd certainly earned it - she'd done a marvelous job through all the speeches and debates. Why, he would never have known how to argue for the things they both believed in the way she had - who would have thought that one course in political science (well, and maybe that semester of public speaking) would have led to this?
Lois and Clark slipped off the stage to join their friends in the press pit; Clark especially didn't need to be in the spotlight any more than necessary - and this modesty hadn't earned them any enemies. Lois had been writing human interest pieces along the whole campaign - it wasn't exactly her favorite type of article, but she couldn't very well live in the middle of a story and not report it. It had been an exhausting year.
Martha looked around the room in pride and euphoria. All the hard work of campaigning had paid off - and this was just the beginning of her challenges. She had definite ideas of where she wanted the country to go - but tonight called for a gracious-in-victory speech, not a hammer-the-issues speech. She held out her hands for quiet, and after a moment was awarded with an abatement of noise. "Friends, my fellow Americans…" she paused for effect, smiling wickedly, "and members of the press…"
A laugh broke out at that, as she'd intended. Her relationship to the husband & wife reporting team of Lane & Kent had been publicized quite a lot in the past six months, as her opponent had tried to manufacture some sort of scandal, with no luck. The relationship had, overall, been a plus for her; she felt comfortable with the reporters along the campaign trail, and they treated her almost like one of their own.
Martha continued her acceptance speech, but Lois let her attention wander (it wasn't like she hadn't heard it rehearsed a few times already upstairs). She preferred to observe the crowd, and float on the natural high of winning. And speaking of floating… she angled her head downward a little to just make sure Clark's shoes stayed on or near the floor. He caught her inspection and laughed, putting his arm around her shoulders. "Don't worry, hon," he shouted in her ear, barely loud enough to be understood. "I'm too tired!"
She looked up and laughed back, caught up in the joy of the moment. She stood on tiptoes to get her mouth close to his ear and enunciated clearly, "Not too tired, I hope - you still have an appearance to make!"
"Oh yeah, so I have. I'd better get going, if I'm going to time it right. See you later." He wiggled his eyebrows at her in comic regret, and kissed her quickly before blending into the crowd. Lois returned her attention to her fellow reporters, and soon found several bent on interviewing her. She patiently assented to a short TV spot, and waited as the anchor set up the shot.
"Next, we have Ms. Lois Lane Kent, half of the Lane and Kent reporting team, and daughter-in-law to our new president. How do you feel about the election results, Ms. Lane?"
Lois pasted on her best professional smile and spoke directly into the microphone, keeping her eyes on the camera, and ignoring the patent stupidity of the question. "Oh, I'm just thrilled, of course. Mrs. Kent will be a great president."
The reporter continued on with the by-now familiar routine. "There have been persistent rumors, Ms. Lane, that you and your mother-in-law don't get along. Do you have anything to say to that?"
Lois shrugged and smiled. "There will always be rumors, but these aren't true at all. We have always gotten along really well, both before and after Clark and I were married."
"Do you anticipate a post in the new government?"
A new question, for a change. "Well, no," Lois answered, slightly startled. "I already have a job."
"But as a Presidential relative, surely you'll be given Secret Service protection, and won't that make it difficult to function as an investigative reporter?" The anchor looked faintly sympathetic over that dilemma.
"Well, we'll just have to take that as it comes and see what happens," she shrugged, keeping a bright smile on her face, although she *was* concerned. Not only would Secret Service agents complicate her job, but they'd also be all too likely to discover Clark's secret. They'd decided that their best hope was to have Superman designated as their official protector, with Presidental (maternal) support and authorization. "Oh, look, there's Superman." She pointed behind the cameraman's head, toward the stage, and was mercifully forgotten.
Superman had flown in from who knew where (third floor cleaning supply closet) and was now descending vertically to the stage, near the podium, where President Kent had just finished her speech. She smiled at his approach, and motioned him toward the microphone. He landed, and shared the podium with her, leaning to his side a little to reach the mike.
"Good evening. You know I haven't endorsed a candidate in this election, just as I never endorse candidates in *any* election. But now that the people have spoken, I have to say that I'm glad you've made this choice. Madam President, if you need me, you have only to call." He held out his hand gravely, and she shook it with equal dignity - except for the twinkle in her eye - before they both turned back to the microphone.
"Thank you, Superman - although I hope not to need you."
He smiled, relaxing a little from the formal pose. "We share that hope. And I wanted to congratulate the mother of my friend, Clark." He stepped back a little, turning to face his mother, who was smiling and wiping her eyes. "Mrs. Kent, I couldn't be prouder of you than if you were *my* mother." He leaned forward to hug her then, and she returned the embrace, kissing him on the cheek. After a moment, he pulled back, and turned to face the crowd again, keeping one arm around her shoulders. She turned outwards as well, and they posed and waved for the throng of cameras for a few moments.
Lois watched her husband and his mother with tear-filled eyes, determined to obtain a good copy of that pose. It would look great in their living room. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and turned to see Jonathan, down from the platform and mingling. He was swallowing hard, and she hugged him. "Aren't they great?" She shouted in his ear. He didn't attempt to shout back, but he nodded, and she knew he was overcome by the same sense of pride she was feeling.
A few moments later, Jimmy stumbled across her. "Lois! Hey, congratulations!" He hugged her without warning, but let go before she could do more than let out a surprised exclamation.
"Uh, thanks, Jimmy! Having fun?"
"Oh yeah, great party! And I'm getting lots of material to punch up my article - in fact, I think I see Perry looking for me, we're going to have to go insert that story pretty soon to get the paper out this morning."
Lois glanced at her watch. "You'd better get going, then, it's nearly 1am!"
Jimmy grinned. "We'll make it, don't you worry. So, hey, where's Clark?"
"He's around, somewhere…" she gestured vaguely around the still-crowded ballroom, noting that Superman did seem to have left the stage already.
"Right here, in fact," Clark chimed in, coming up behind her and snaking an arm around her waist. "Hi, Jimmy."
"Hi, Clark - how's your mother, the President?" Jimmy grinned impudently.
"She's fine, but you know the rules - anything I say about Mom is off the record."
Jimmy looked thoughtful. "Is that off the record as in an unnamed source told me, or -"
Clark interrupted, suppressing a smile. "Off the record as in I know where you live, and I'm bigger than you are."
"Okay, okay!" Jimmy put up his hands in surrender, laughing at the threat. "Oops, I see Perry waving at me, I'd better be gone… see you two!"
They waved him away, and Lois felt as if all her energy left with him, as she started to crash down from her earlier high - they *had* been doing last-minute campaigning all day. She leaned into Clark's chest, and he raised the arm that had been around her waist to encircle her upper arm. "Well, she did it."
"Yep. The next 8 years are going to be interesting… and we don't even have to pretend we don't have a relationship with her…"
Clark chuckled softly as he led his sleepy wife out of the ballroom.